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  1. #1

    Default Starter whines, does not engage engine

    Any suggestions or ideas would be appreciated!
    2001 2WD Suburban w/5.3 gas... Just bought this vehicle two weeks ago, has 178k on it.
    I've only driven it three times since owning it.
    Went to crank it today and when key is on, I see no unexpected warnings(security, etc) on dash.
    When I move key to starting position, the starter "runs" (loud whining noise), but does not turn the engine over.

    Question: Are there any relays or fuses that could be defective/blown/shorted that could cause the starter to exhibit this behavior of running, but not engaging the engine? or does this sound like a starter malfunction.

    For what it is worth, though I have not yet pulled the starter off and inspected it or taken it anywhere to be tested, I don't "feel" what I would expect to feel if it were actually even making an attempt to engage the flywheel.


  2. #2


    If the starter is turning but not engaging which is exactly what it suonds like you have happening here its a starter issue.
    A temp fix/check is to have someone engage the starter while you smack the side of it with a hammer the starter swill sometimes engage when this is done it also lets you know the solenoid is sticking.
    Either way I believe a new starter is in your future.

  3. #3


    Thank you for the reply, tbplus.

    The previous owner supplied me with recpt of where he had starter replaced 25k ago (June 2011)
    Any chance it could just need a new solenoid? or is it absolutely best practice to always replace the whole starter?

    Also, if anyone reading this thread has any advise or experience to share regarding getting a starter elsewhere, other than dealership, that would also be appreciated too.

  4. #4


    Manufacturers have gotten smarter (money/saleswise) and solenoids are integrated so unfortunately your not able to just replace the solenoid.
    not like the old days where you could swap out a fender mounted solenoid for under $10.

  5. #5


    I don't like to argue with a member, but I think the 2001 starter came with a piggy-backed solenoid that is a separate part and can be changed as such.

    '09 Avalanche LTZ - Black
    '05 Envoy XL (sold)

  6. #6


    You are correct. I just removed the starter assembly. The solenoid is external & replaceable.

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